South America 2015

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South America 2015

Postby Staley » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:29 am

It looks like most of the South American resorts just got some nice snowfall, but not enough to open yet. Given that I once again have a lot of vacation time to use (and importantly for me, am able to take the time off), I booked flights to Buenos Aires. I land in BA the morning of August 21 and depart September 7, so if anyone wants to join, it would be great to have a travel companion, and perhaps someone who speaks Spanish.

My plan is most likely to spend the whole time in Las Lenas, but that could change based on snow conditions. Still, it's hard to pass up the terrain quality of Las Lenas and ease of travel--even though it's a long bus ride from BA, it's a direct bus, so that's the safest bet for a non-Spanish speaker like me.

Speaking of that terrain quality, here's a video of a guy I stayed with last year. This is all from a single day, which was undoubtedly the best ski day I've ever had. 13 untracked Marte laps with 5-6 feet of pow is worth all the down days.

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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:54 pm

The El Nino is stronger than last year so your odds should be better. Not that much has happened yet, but you're booking the optimal time frame for a decent base and conditions based upon history, the same period Extremely Canadian is there.

That video is way beyond me with the straightlines and airs. Presumably those couloirs have a little more elbow room with a normal snowpack.

You should keep tabs on this thread http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/show ... Chile-2015 from a Santiago local. Las Lenas tends to get the same weather as Portillo and the Valle Nevado group.

Hopefully this trip will not be the nail-biter last year was. OTOH the only way you probably got 13 untracked Marte runs on one day is because Las Lenas had been pretty bad up to your week and was about to close until the storm you got. Most skiers had thrown in the towel, and Las Lenas is not a very practical place to storm chase at the last minute.

We have our eyes on South America as we did last year but won't make any decision for at least another month.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby lono » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:20 am

Webcam shows new snowfall in Las Lenas.
I skied LL first week of august two years in the mid nintys,got very lucky both years,booking only after a one meter bottombase in mid July.It was a very low key place then,and it was indescibedly good.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:16 pm

lono wrote:booking only after a one meter bottom base in mid July.

That's the way to do it IMHO. My decision in 2005 was easier as it snowed over 100 inches in both May and June.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:10 pm

http://unofficialnetworks.com/2015/06/n ... nia-winter
It's still early, but obviously it looks a lot like Dec. 19 of 2011 or 2013 in the Sierra. :evil:

New Zealand on the other hand...
http://unofficialnetworks.com/2015/06/n ... f-new-snow
The caveat is that New Zealand is a little bit like New England. One good drenching can change conditions from epic to crappy in short order. This is generally not a problem once the snow finally arrives at high altitude Portillo, Las Lenas or the Valle Nevado group.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:50 am

Another South America roundup with some perhaps helpful pictures:
http://snowbrains.com/opening-dates-for ... i-resorts/

Not enough info to say the southern areas have great skiing yet, but at least there is some kind of natural base accumulating.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:09 pm

SnowForecast was hyping the incoming South America storm all last week, calling for as much as 10 feet. While that was excessive, this storm was the single largest in 5 years. SnowBrains claimed the following totals:
Portillo 78 inches
Las Lenas 45 inches
Valle Nevado 31 inches
El Colorado 25 inches
Las Lenas 63 inches

The Valle Nevado group does get less snow than Portillo but typically it's more like 75% than the half reported now.

SnowBrains is also on the El Nino bandwagon and thinks this won't be the last intense storm of the South American ski season.
http://snowbrains.com/current-el-nino-c ... on-record/

Last month's APR/MAY MEI Index http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/table.html value of +1.567 was technically "the highest since 1997-98" but it barely exceeded the maximum of +1.524 in JAN/FEB 2010. But Saturday the MAY/JUN reading was posted as +2.06. This is higher than any reading from 4th highest 1986-87 and exceeded by only two months of 3rd highest 1991-92.

1982-82 and 1997-98 remain in their own class, peaking at over +3.0 with multiple months over +2.5.

The other important fact is that MAY/JUN is the start of the period when the MEI index tends to stabilize, and is 73% correlated with its value 6 months from now in NOV/DEC. So for now you can put me in the camp of those saying the El Nino hype is real this time for our upcoming northern ski season.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:03 am

I have bought flights and committed to Las Lenas for Aug. 22 - Sept. 5, same dates as Staley.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby ChrisC » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:00 am

I have never skied in South America before .... however, I have been looking into a quick trip to Chile.

I have seen lots of $750 airfares / 40k frequent flier mile tickets offered late August to mid September to Santiago. I would prefer Las Lenas - but that is too much of a commitment.

Does anyone understand the pricing in Chile for skiing? It seems really high - and they are directly linking their pricing to the US dollar vs. local currency - because the local currency should give us a 10-30% discount compared to last year.

Is their a site - or setting - where I can book in local currency?

I understand lift ticket prices are higher - that's fine.

However, lodging costs seem crazy to me for South America. I can stay in a penthouse in Rio cheaper than an 1980s relic hotel in the Andes.

Valle Nevado - very expensive. There are some specials ... but really. Even the base in the mountain town is pricey.
Portillo - what's the best down valley for like 2 nights.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:48 am

Chile is much more expensive than Argentina, especially if you can pay cash at the "blue dollar" rate.

Resort hotels are priced at international standards, even at Las Lenas, as these places are remote and nearly all the visitors are foreign. Bariloche would be the one place with lots of hotels where you could pay cash when you get there.

I would not recommend Valle Nevado for ChrisC. Most terrain is very intermediate, and I've read recently that the off-piste road runs from the back of El Colorado touted by Geoff can now result in arrest by Chilean police. Furthermore the VN group gets less snow than Portillo and Las Lenas and current conditions are not great. See reports here: http://snowbrains.com/category/locations/southamerica

The upcoming storm may change that.
Image

In 2007 we stayed in Los Andes to ski Arpa and Portillo 2 days each. We stayed at Casa St. Regis (used by some ski tour operators) and would definitely recommend that with dinners and local wine too. No hot tub, but one day we visited Termas de Jahuel Hotel & Spa for that. That hotel is considerably more expensive to stay in.

Your airfare deal is way better than I got to Buenos Aires, but are you really going to do that for just 2 days of skiing? Given weather variability and lift closures, you could easily get skunked completely for skiing on such a short trip, as Liz did in Portillo after the 2010 eclipse. It seems inconceivable to go down there for less than a week unless it's on someone else's dime. And with a week you should be considering Las Lenas. I am in an apartment alone Aug. 22 - Sept. 5 and there's probably room for you at $420/week.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:36 pm

Quote = http://www.skiportillo.com/noticia/roadinfo/?lang=en , Aug. 7:
Dear Portillo Guest,

We are sorry that this storm has delayed your arrival to Portillo. However we will have excellent conditions when you do get here.

At this time the road is closed until the storm subsides. Because of avalanche danger the Chilean Highway Administration cannot use their snowplow machines until it’s safe for them be on the road to work. As soon as they open up a clear and safe lane, we will start the process of delivering you to Portillo.

If the forecast holds true it’s possible that the road will open at the earliest Sunday afternoon.

Portillo reports a 2-day storm total of 66.5 inches. SnowBrains reports 42-51 inches at 3 Valleys and 37 inches at Las Lenas.

Interestingly, snow-forecast.com overprojects its past 3 days snowfall as well as the future. Nonetheless the storm still has a couple more days to go.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:31 pm

Final storm totals from Portillo website 85 inches, and SnowBrains 70 inches at Las Lenas and 51 inches at La Parva. Similar size and same relationship among the areas as the July storm. Portillo road opened Sunday but is shown closed today. Snow-forecast claims there's still another foot+ of snow coming the next 3 days.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: South America 2015

Postby ChrisC » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:07 pm

I guess I should have been more specific in the term weekend - it would be a long 4-day weekend.

Again a lot of the lodging in the mountains seems very high. Instead, I was going to stay down in Santiago on the road towards Valle Nevado and rent an SUV and commute - Portillo, Valle Nevado, El Colorado.

Not sure if this is a bad idea ... But it should be a standard urban climb into the mountains.

The snow seems to have finally arrived.
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Re: South America 2015

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:27 am

La Parva has the best terrain of the 3 Valleys, assuming those road shuttle runs are off-limits. And I still read that multi-area lift tickets in 3 Valleys are expensive.
ChrisC wrote: But it should be a standard urban climb into the mountains.

The Portillo road is an international crossing to Mendoza with the border just past Portillo. It's a standard 2-lane highway but lots of slow trucks up to Portillo at 9,400 feet. I would not call the Valle Nevado road a "standard urban climb." The climb via dozens of switchbacks is to 9,000 feet at El Colorado and La Parva and 9,900 at Valle Nevado. The road is sufficiently narrow that traffic on weekends and holidays is one-way up in the mornings and down in late afternoon/evenings. You might check Farellones for lodging, at 8,000 feet and lift connected to El Colorado. But I still think you will like the skiing at Portillo better. I do think the car rental is the way to go for that region.

Note those base elevations for altitude adjustments. Many people don't do so well landing from the typical overnight flight from North America and heading straight up there to ski. This was not an issue for us in 2007 because we had spent the prior week in Peru including the Inca Trail. But it's another caution about going down there for such a short time.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: South America 2015

Postby ChrisC » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:38 am

Is there a recommendation between La Parva and El Colorado?

I was looking at reports and the terrain looks a little more interesting at La Parva - but did not know what might really distringuish one over the other. El Colorado looked like a large cone with lift thrown up it.
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